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- Highs Centerfold looks, sweet performance, hatchback versatility.
- Lows Mediocre braking performance, tight back-seat space, ordinary warranty coverage.
- Verdict Loads of driver engagement in an attractive, practical, and shapely package.
The 2019 A5 Sportback combines the features of several Audis: the sweeping lines of the A5 coupe, the four-door layout and cargo space of the A4 sedan, and the convenience of the Q5 SUV's rear liftgate. Despite this formula, the A5 Sportback doesn't look or feel cobbled together—just the opposite. It's rewarding to drive, with nimble sports-sedan handling and a spirited turbo four-cylinder. Its sheetmetal is Euro chic, and inside, its high-quality materials and minimalist design look great—although the interior gives up some rear-seat spaciousness to its sedan sibling. But because of its playfulness and practicality, we're happy to forgive the A5 Sportback its few small flaws.
What's New for 2019?
Audi has made only minor changes to the A5 Sportback this year. A Black Optics Plus package is now available and in addition to the expected black exterior detailing, includes a sport suspension and 19-inch wheels with summer tires. Blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors are now available on the base Premium model as part of the optional Convenience package and a self-parking feature is standard on the top-level Prestige.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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The 2019 A5 Sportback is well equipped in each of its three trims, but we'd go with the mid-level Premium Plus, which adds niceties such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, LED headlamps, keyless entry with push-button start, and heated front seats with memory settings for the driver. We'd also select the Navigation package, which includes a larger 8.3-inch infotainment display, Audi's impressive Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster, and access to Audi Connect Prime and Plus (onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, live traffic updates, Google Earth connectivity, and more).
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Eager engine, quick-shifting transmission, nimble handling.
Dislikes: Disappointing braking performance.
The A5 Sportback's standard 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive make for a winning formula in both efficiency and performance. Smooth and sonorous, the engine provides effortless power while the transmission shifts gears quickly and seamlessly; it's a polished and well-matched setup made all the more capable by standard all-wheel drive. In our zero-to-60-mph testing, the A5 Sportback outran the Buick Regal GS, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti, and the BMW 430i Gran Coupe with a 5.0-second result.
It's composed, confident, and easy to drive fast through corners: The A5 Sportback is everything a modern sports sedan should be. Its agility belies its comfort, too, and potholes and broken pavement do little to upset the Sportback, especially when it's equipped with the optional adaptive suspension. The well-weighted steering feels natural in the driver's hands, and the front tires respond immediately to driver inputs, making this Audi a joy to pilot on twisty tarmac.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Not only does the A5 Sportback's powertrain overdeliver in the performance category, it also achieves excellent fuel efficiency. According to the EPA, the A5 Sportback is one of the most efficient options in its class. While the Audi matched its highway rating in our real-world testing with a 34-mpg result, the 430i Gran Coupe did even better, outperforming every competitor with a phenomenal 37 mpg.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Superior build quality, slick optional Virtual Cockpit display, incognito hatchback practicality.
Dislikes: Not as luxurious as expected, pinched rear-passenger space, limited in-cabin storage options.
The A5 Sportback's cabin isn't as plush as some might expect from a luxury brand, but all of the materials are high quality, the fit and finish is superb, and there are enough high-end features to distance it from mainstream sedans. Rear-seat passenger space isn't as generous as in the Audi A4 sedan, but it's spacious enough for two average-size adults—and for the slight sacrifice in rear headroom, you get the A5 Sportback's sleek roofline, which is far sexier than that of its more angular and upright sibling. All A5 Sportback models come well equipped with luxury necessities such as power front seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, and three-zone automatic climate control.
Audi's MMI is one of the most pleasing infotainment systems among premium brands. It's made even better by the A5 Sportback's optional—and highly recommended—12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display. Premium and midrange Premium Plus models come with a 7.0-inch infotainment display that's controlled by a clickwheel mounted on the console between the driver and the front-seat passenger. Audi's MMI interface is easy to use while on the go, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard if users prefer to interact directly with their smartphones instead. A larger 8.3-inch screen is bundled with navigation, the Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, and includes access to a suite of internet and vehicle-connectivity features called Audi Connect Prime and Audi Connect Plus.
A hatchback in disguise, the A5 Sportback has a sloping rear roofline that hides a power-operated liftgate and a large cargo hold, making it far more practical than the Audi A4 sedan or the A5 coupe and convertible. It proved its mettle in our carry-on suitcase testing by swallowing 16 cases; despite having one of the smallest cargo areas by volume, the Sportback beat all of its direct rivals except for the particularly voluminous Regal GS.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Earning good marks from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the A5 Sportback appears to be a trustworthy choice for those concerned with safety. Audi offers a wide range of driver-assistance features, but some are only available on the most expensive Prestige model. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi's warranty package doesn't stand out among rivals in this comparison. The Kia Stinger's 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain policy leads the segment in coverage but doesn't offer complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles